The Localism Bill received Royal Assent and became the Localism Act 2011 on 15th November 2011.
The main planning provisions in the new Act are:
- Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies
- New powers for neighbourhood forums to bring forward neighbourhood development plans and neighbourhood development orders regulating development at the neighbourhood level as part of the local plan
- Abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission and its replacement with a specialist Major Infrastructure Planning Unit within the Planning Inspectorate, with all final decisions on proposals being taken by a Minister
- Powers to make changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations to require local planning authorities to pass a proportion of CIL levies to the neighbourhood where development takes place
- A new duty on applicants for planning permission to carry out consultation with people who live at or otherwise occupy land in the vicinity of the application site
In our view, the exact implications of the new Act will not become clear for some time. To begin with, we anticipate that, as seems to be the norm these days, the new provisions will be brought in over a period of time by a series of Statutory Instruments. In addition, many of the provisions require some flesh to be put on the bones by means of Regulations. Finally, it remains to be seen how many neighbourhood forums are set up and how many of them choose to make local development plans and/or local development orders, which would potentially alter the local development plan policy framework.
We will update you as the Act comes into force.